Fix-it-first would be a win for rural communities

Fix-it-first would be a win for rural communities

Bumpy border road
From Wikimedia Commons

The lack of repair requirements in the infrastructure bill will shortchange rural areas, costing them potential jobs and leaving them with crumbling roads and bridges that won’t get repaired. Our report highlights why using highway funds to fix roads and bridges would bring numerous benefits to rural America.

The infrastructure deal that passed the Senate in August and is currently waiting on a House vote after budget reconciliation will fail to make meaningful progress on the maintenance backlog on our nation’s streets, roads, and highways. That’s because there is no requirement for state DOTs to prioritize repair before building expensive new roads they will struggle to maintain. Historically, when given new funds with this kind of flexibility, they’ve chosen to expand their roadways (with dubious results), with no real plan for maintaining their highway system.

Cover of Rural Transportation Policy report

Read our latest report on the transportation needs in rural areas

Rural Americans need and deserve reliable and convenient transportation options, but current policies are failing them. This short report we released last week has six recommendations and stories of success from rural America that show a better approach.

What’s the impact on rural areas?

Despite what you may have heard from scores of Senators from rural states, failing to prioritize repair first is a big loss for rural America. 

Instead of fixing potholed roads and preventing key farm-to-market bridges from being weight-limited or closed outright, a large portion of the infrastructure funding will go to costly expansion projects in big growing metropolitan areas. State DOTs will burn through the funding buying expensive right-of-way to widen roads for metro commuters. Oftentimes, these highway projects will worsen neighborhood connectivity by creating new barriers and will just end up inducing more driving, which means widened roads fill up with traffic in a few years, failing to deliver on the (expensive) promise of reducing congestion.

Meanwhile, rural areas, which aren’t growing as quickly as their urban counterparts, don’t have much rationale for road expansion, but they absolutely do need their roadways repaired. In fact, a report from TRIP (a national transportation research nonprofit) estimates the rural road maintenance backlog at $211 billion. With metro areas sucking up a majority of the funding for wasteful roadway expansion projects, there will be little left for the vital but unglamourous job of fixing rural highways, county roads, and small-town main streets.

What’s worse, the jobs that come with road repair—good-paying blue-collar jobs that rural communities need—won’t be as abundant. Maintenance work produces more jobs per dollar than roadway expansion since a greater share is spent on labor thanks to the lack of costly right-of-way acquisition. And since maintenance is the big need in rural areas, instituting requiring that existing roads are fixed before new ones are created would ensure that not only is the money spent better, but it actually goes to the greatest needs, creating more jobs along the way.

We don’t have to keep wasting highway funds on endlessly expanding highways. While the bipartisan infrastructure bill failed to include fix-it-first accountability, we can still hold our leaders accountable to actually use funds to repair roads and bridges before constructing new ones. Doing so would help preserve the rural roads that are vital for connectivity and bringing goods to market, all while creating the most jobs. 

Read more in our latest report.

Source: Fix-it-first would be a win for rural communities

*This is a free press release. Upgraded press releases are ad-free!

UK’s first fusion technology centre provides Yorkshire jobs boost

A ground-breaking new fusion technology facility, which has the capability to test components in the simulated conditions of a fusion power plant, is now open and operating in South Yorkshire.The Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham was chosen by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) as the ideal location for the new 25,000 sq. ft. fusion…

Read Press Release

Funeral Service Held in Covina for Marine Killed in Afghanistan

A U.S. Marine Corps carry team transfers the remains of Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola of Rancho Cucamonga, California, Aug. 29, 2021 at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Merola was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California. (Jason Minto/U.S. Air Force via Getty…

Read Press Release

Consumers Find Influencer Role Increasingly Attractive

Axios, Sunday, September 26, 2021 4:39 PM Brands are throwing billions of dollars at online content creators, so the number of people looking to become influencers has exploded during the pandemic. “Takumi, a premier influencer marketing agency, received twice as many applications from people looking for representation in 2020 then it did in 2019,” per…

Read Press Release

Best Oculus Quest 2 accessories for 2021 – CNET

The powerful and affordable Oculus Quest 2 has brought virtual reality as close as it’s ever been to the mainstream. Facebook’s VR gaming system is cable-free, which is essential for having a great VR experience. While prices for it start at $300 for the 64GB version, it’s pretty bare-bones and doesn’t include anything beyond the VR…

Read Press Release

Clyde Edwards-Helaire Of The Kansas City Chiefs Remains Inconsistent

Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire is tackled by Los Angeles Chargers defensive … [+] back Nasir Adderley on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021 in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga) ASSOCIATED PRESS The Kansas City Chiefs wanted to show their confidence in the scapegoat of the previous week’s contest. After fumbling the ball with 1:25…

Read Press Release

Why Canadian Conservatives Lost the Election

When they went soft on core principles, demoralized voters stayed home or voted for an upstart third party. NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE W hen Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau called a snap election for this past Monday, the Conservative opposition had the chance to present a real contrast to his “woke” Liberal government. Instead, Conservative Party…

Read Press Release

Fix-it-first would be a win for rural communities - Click To Share

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on whatsapp